Mosaic of the galactic centre

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope infrared mosaic image represents the sharpest survey of the galactic centre to date. It reveals a new population of massive stars and new details in complex structures in the hot ionized gas swirling around the central 300 x 115 light-years. This sweeping infrared panorama offers a nearby laboratory for how massive stars form and influence their environment in the often violent nuclear regions of other galaxies.

The infrared mosaic was taken with Hubble's Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS). The Galactic core is obscured in visible light by intervening dust clouds, but infrared light penetrates the dust. The spatial resolution of this image corresponds to 0.025 light-years at the distance of the Galactic core of 26 000 light-years. Hubble reveals details in objects as small as 20 times the size of our own Solar System.


NASA, ESA and Q.D. Wang (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)

About the Image

NASA press release
NASA caption
Release date:5 January 2009, 19:00
Size:11700 x 4500 px

About the Object

Name:Milky Way
Type:Milky Way : Galaxy : Component : Center/Core
Distance:25000 light years

Image Formats

Large JPEG
43.8 MB
Screensize JPEG
174.3 KB



Position (RA):17 45 30.07
Position (Dec):-28° 59' 17.69"
Field of view:38.97 x 14.99 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 58.6° left of vertical

Colours & filters

Hubble Space Telescope

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